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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
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    Wherever the journey takes me...
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    18

    Default Travelling/RoadTripping with Cats...

    I'm going to be moving from Phoenix, AZ to Rochester, NY by way of Washington, DC next month. I've got two darling little cats, but they're very active, and the thought of them cooped up in a carrier all day in the truck and then getting let loose in a motel/hotel room in the evenings just frightens me!

    I'm going to have the truck loaded down with stuff, and I'm going to have the cats in a large (for them) carrier. It's big enough that they can both fit in it comfortably, and still be able to get up and stretch and what not. It'll be buckled on the passengers seat of my Pathfinder with the passengers airbag disabled. I've got a bunch of those little throw-away litter pans that I can put into the carrier when I stop for fuel so they can relieve themselves and I can just throw it out when I leave so I don't have a stinky litter box in the truck. I also don't want them roaming free because I don't want them to get on me, or under the pedals, or fall out the window...*yikes* They'll have a constant supply of food and water.

    I'm considering getting some of the sedative travel pills from the vet to keep them calm during the drive.

    Does anyone have any tips/tricks/suggestions for roadtripping with cats?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 1998
    Location
    Las Vegas, Nevada
    Posts
    10,060

    Default There are several "Cat" people here

    Quote Originally Posted by findapath View Post
    I've got two darling little cats, but they're very active, and the thought of them cooped up in a carrier all day in the truck and then getting let loose in a motel/hotel room in the evenings just frightens me!
    Welcome to the Great American RoadTrip Forum! Moderator Gen has traveled all over the place with her cat and I would certainly suggest you contact her. We also have some expert tips -- with information about some of the sedative-like products that are out there and some more ideas about pet restraint techniques.

    Mark

  3. Default Traveling with a cat..

    Umm.. I have to confess I've done a road trip with a cat. A pretty mellow one, though, taken on a trip for a friend of mine traveling with me.

    The cat was in a cat carrier, plus there was a litter box in the vehicle (in an open, low cardboard box in the back of my SUV). But before I'd hit the road, I'd let the cat out of the cat carrier. The cat would prowl around the car, and then settle down somewhere to nap pretty much the whole trip. Usually in the passenger footwell, or on top of the stuff crammed in the cargo area so he could see out. Very well behaved. Before getting out to get gas or use a rest area, the cat would be recaptured and put back in the cat carrier. And of course, no open windows or sunroof.

    However... he slept all day, and at night in the motel he wanted to PARTY! He's eat and use the disposable litter box we'd set out -- but then he's prowl all around the room at night, walking over the sleeping bodies on the bed who weren't paying attention to him, and periodicly yowl for attention. Not good.

    We ended up keeping him in the room until it was time to go to sleep, and then taking him back out to the car, and releasing him into the car again to prowl around in the car -- but out of earshot of us or neighboring rooms. We'd have to be careful getting back in the car to make sure he didn't get out, and put him back in the cat carrier for a bit until we were on the road again.

    But all in all, he wasn't a bad traveling companion for a couple of days of travel each way.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 1998
    Location
    Las Vegas, Nevada
    Posts
    10,060

    Default No damage to the car at night?

    Quote Originally Posted by Larrison View Post
    But all in all, he wasn't a bad traveling companion for a couple of days of travel each way.
    Yikes! That sounds frightful to me. I think you are lucky the cat didn't commit some ferocious attacks on the car when left out there at night!

    Mark

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Location
    Wherever the journey takes me...
    Posts
    18

    Default

    Yeah, that I couldn't do. My cats would destroy my truck, and everything in it!

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Québec, Montreal, Arizona, California, France
    Posts
    761

    Default Fellow road cats!

    Findapath,

    Travelling with cats is totally doable but you have to take it easy and respect your cats' endurance and personalities. I've travelled a lot with my own cat, Victor : once throughout the US (2 weeks) and on 2-3 days trip within Quebec (where I live). I got him used to car rides when he was a kitty so he always seemed very comfortable.

    I think the worst thing for cats is having them look outside the windows when the car is moving. It's desorientating and they can get nauseous. I don't know old old your cats are and if they are used to the car or not, but the first thing I would do is bring them on short road trips around the block, to see their reactions and get them used to it. Make sure you bring their favourite blanket, basket, hideout and/or toys and give them a few minutes in the car so they can explore their new environment.

    I never put my cat in a carrier, it makes him panic. I let him go around freely in the car and never had any trouble. He's very calm and behaves well. I guess it depend on your cats behaviour. I always put a waterproof blanket on the back seat and his usual litter box. That way he will recognize his territory and won't do his thing anywhere else. His litter box has a roof on it that helps with the odors and also has a handle which makes it easier to carry. He got so used to travelling that now he eats in the car and even do his thing while the car is moving.

    I stop every once in a while in a rest area to take him for a walk (on a leash) and give him a chance to drink some water. I use a small shovel to clean the litter box and put everything in 2 plastic bags. Before you leave, make sure both of your cats have medallions with proper identification and your cell phone number in case they get lost and have all of the vet papers handy (certificate, vaccination booklet, etc.). Give them lots of treats and attention!

    Every night, I'd check in a pet-friendly motel or hotel and bring everything in before I bring the cat so he will recognize this environment as a safe place. For the cat I use a Sherpa backpack. Make sure the cats get exercise before you go to sleep to avoid situations such as the one described below by Larrison:o)

    If you have to leave the cats in the car for a few moments, leave the windows slightly opened and make sure they have fresh air. Always park in shaded areas. Also, if the cats have to stay in the carrier all the time, make sure they are not directly exposed to the sun and that they always get some fresh air.

    I'm considering getting some of the sedative travel pills from the vet to keep them calm during the drive.
    I wouldn't do that if I were you unless it is absolutely necessary. All of my friends who did it felt guilty for days since it took a long while for the cats to recover. However, you could still buy some, see how it goes and if the cats are too freaked out, you could give each half a piece. In my experience, the first half hour in the car is the worst and then they usually calm down. I have very old cats at home who are not used to car travelling and I never had to use these pills.

    Here's a short list of things I bring with me on my trips with Victor :

    -a leash;
    -a collar with medallion;
    -towels;
    -waterproof blankets;
    -cat treats;
    -litter box with roof;
    -small shovel;
    -plastic bags;
    -food;
    -bottle of water;
    -vaccination booklet, certificates, etc;
    -his favourite tent, basket and toys;
    -Sherpa bag;
    -pet friendly hotel/motel directory;
    -cell phone;
    -24/7 vet service phone number;
    -car shade;
    -camping fan (works with batteries) in the summer;

    Good luck and let us know how it went!
    Gen & Victor

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Location
    Wherever the journey takes me...
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    18

    Default

    They're only about 6 months old, so they're still VERY active, and curious and have to get into every little thing to check it out and see what it is about. That's why I would like to leave them in a carrier for the most of the trip.

    The trip will be in Mid-November (in about a month), so leaving them in the car for 5 minutes with the windows cracked while I patroize a rest area or check into a motel won't be an issue.

    They've got their last round of shots coming up in about 2 weeks, so they'll be all up-to-date on all of that stuff.

    And they'll also have eachother to calm themselves down and entertain eachother.

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